WP149: Solidarity with a sharp edge: Communal conflict and local collective action in rural Nigeria

Introduction

Welcome to the Afrobarometer publications section. For short, topical analyses, try our briefing papers (for survey rounds 1-5) and dispatches (starting with Round 6). For longer, more technical analyses of policy issues, check our policy papers. Our working papers are full-length analytical pieces developed for publication in academic journals or books. You can also search the entire publications database by keyword(s), language, country, and/or author.

Filter content by:

Working papers
2014
149
Schaub, Max

This paper provides new insights into the link between the experience of violent conflict and local collective action. I use temporal and geographical information from four rounds of survey data from Nigeria to relate measures of cooperation to past and future incidences of communal conflict. I show that local collective action, measured in terms of community meeting attendance and volunteering, is highest before the outbreak of violence – higher than both post-conflict levels and the generally lower levels of cooperation in regions not affected by violence. I develop a “mobilisation mechanism” to explain these findings, arguing that, rather than being an indicator of “social capital,” collective action ahead of communal violence is inherently ambiguous and driven by a form of situationally adaptive (and potentially aggressive) “solidarity with an edge.” I further show that the positive link between previous exposure to civil war-type violence and cooperation holds for Nigeria, too, but that it holds for rural areas only.